At the climate conference in Paris, the world community pledged to limit global warming to “well below” 2° C. Rapid emissions reductions in all economic sectors will be required to achieve this goal, including the almost complete decarbonization of the world’s economies by mid-century. The German government aims to achieve a 55% reduction in the country’s GHG emissions by 2030, and an 80 to 95% reduction by 2050 (relative to 1990 levels). In the transport sector, Germany plans to reduce GHG emissions by 40 to 42% by 2030, and to achieve near total decarbonization by 2050.
Yet, the severity of global warming we experience will not be determined by emissions levels in 2030, 2050, or in any other specific year. Rather, the cumulative amount of emissions released into atmosphere over many decades is the decisive factor. Against the backdrop of this so-called budget approach, the project is investigating current German climate protection targets and emissions trends. A key goal of the study is to chart an “emissions budget” and an emissions reduction pathway for the German transport sector that is compatible with the country’s ambition to make a fair contribution to global climate protection. What emissions reductions are needed in the German transport sector in order to honour the commitments of the Paris Agreement? And is current German policy sufficient to bring these reductions about?